Author Topic: January 2016 excerpt discussion  (Read 3261 times)

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Michel.R.E

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January 2016 excerpt discussion
« on: January 05, 2016, 11:43:13 AM »
Ok.. sort of a rapid choice, I'll try to take a bit more time with February's selection, and make it a greater mystery.

January 2016 excerpt

This may sound straightforward and traditional, but it has some interesting talking points.

This excerpt will also make a certain forum member quite happy.

On a sadder note, this is the very last bit of music to be set to paper by the master. It was finished orchestrating by one of his students.

Things to discuss:

do you hear anything particular about the harmony?
the counterpoint?
the orchestration?
the musical approach

Are the mix of traditional and modern working for or against each other?
Is this long melody treated in the same manner as that of the December excerpt?
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

sandalwood

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2016, 12:18:19 PM »
OK, that one was easy! Beautiful piece, by the way. I will think on the questions.

Thanks for the December reply, meanwhile. What a relief! I should listen to him more.

Ron

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2016, 02:29:22 PM »
Now why did you want to go and leave me in tears, Michel? Not fair. Not only is it his last work, but it is incredibly poignant.

(I don't see the "answer" to December's posting--though I told you the answer in a private email. I'm doing the same with this one.)
Ron
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Michel.R.E

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2016, 02:39:56 PM »
I'm sorry Ron... I guess I'm in a bit of a post-holiday funk myself.

This piece is a very difficult one for me as well. It's very hard to listen to without being overwhelmed.
I played the piano accompaniment of this piece in concert a few years ago. It doesn't QUITE have the same impact as the string orchestra version, but was still an ordeal to get through without breaking down (the slow movement of Ravel's piano concerto is the only other piece I've had difficulty keeping my emotions in check while performing).
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Periwink

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2016, 06:49:50 AM »
I have the same Michel, I played the piano solo part of the adagio on my grandmothers funeral. So beautiful, the entire concerto is actually one of my favorites, I heard it played live once by Grimaud, loved it.

This excerpt is very beautiful as well, I have no idea who wrote it and this is the first time I hear it.

I forgot to comment on the previous thread even though I listened to the excerpt many times because I enjoyed it so much, the composer is quite a surprise.
Honesty doesn't serve the self; it serves the truth.
-Peter Ralston

Ron

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2016, 09:40:38 AM »
I'm trying to analyze it. It starts very firmly in Eb with a transition to Bb, like any "classical" piece, but then starts going through different modes very quickly. However, it keeps coming back to that Eb and Bb. There's that tension throughout, of exploring remote keys and modes, but returning constantly to the primary tonic key. There are sections where it appears as if the oboe and the strings are in different keys, but I can't be sure of that. One of the notable features of the oboe part are the many drops of  7ths and then octaves.

More later.
Ron
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MikeL

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2016, 02:09:04 PM »
Any time I think I have written something half decent I will hear a piece like this and "Yep, long way to go Lofting"
These aren't the chords you're looking for.

Michel.R.E

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2016, 02:56:26 PM »
Any time I think I have written something half decent I will hear a piece like this and "Yep, long way to go Lofting"

be fair to yourself.
this particular musical excerpt is the final notes from the pen of one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. his weakest efforts are better than the greatest works of many others.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

tbmartin

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2016, 05:26:47 AM »
Not much "mystery" when the complete track information comes up in Windows Media Player   ;)

Beautiful piece. Love the oboe. The Concert Band I play in is blessed to have 2 awesome oboe players, and one who also plays English Horn equally well. Her performance in Russian Christmas Music was gorgeous. 
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Michel.R.E

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2016, 06:06:33 AM »
Thank-you for pointing that out to me. I play musical excerpts through Firefox, rather than downloading them.

I fixed it  ;)
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

winknotes

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2016, 08:27:23 AM »
Beautiful piece.  I'm racking my brain trying to figure out the composer.  Here are some random thoughts as I'm listening.

The opening intervals reminded me of Mahler's 1st symphony.  Maybe not exact but in this case two descending 4ths a m2 apart then another descending 4th a M2 up.  So assuming starting pitch of Bb I hear:
(Bb,F),(Gb,Db),(Eb,Bb)

This explains the key centers Ron heard then of Bb and Eb.

At any rate the first thing I notice is the eighth note (assuming the pulse is in quarters) accompaniment figure is a sped up part of the longer oboe melody.

I think the mix of traditional and modern harmony works.  The transitions are smooth almost more with pausing on leading tones and appoggiaturas seems to be how that's achieved.

The strings sound muted throughout.

There's almost an exact restatement of the beginning at the last 30 seconds or so.  I'm not entirely sure about the form but I think it's an arch form. 

EDIT:  I figured out the composer and piece!!
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 10:06:05 AM by winknotes »
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Michel.R.E

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2016, 11:33:25 AM »
Remember that the goal is NOT to guess the composer/excerpt correctly.

The goal is to examine a musical excerpt from all possible angles with as little external influence as possible.

"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

mjf1947

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2016, 04:50:46 PM »
You know I credit myself with having a wonderful musical library in my head ...  always play the melody snippet game with my son-in-law and usually win ... and as an Oboist ... how could I miss such a wonderful solo~!  Yet although I know the assignment is not to guess the composer ... I feel truly embarrassed for not knowing this work.    :-[

It sounds as if it is from a scared work ..... a lament or so.  A combination of romanticism and impressionism ... french school - maybe not?  In the work two moving lines/melodies one in the oboe and the other in the strings.  Plaintively calling out to each other ... in sync and not so  ... lots of underlying give and take in the two lines. Distinct - supportive and not so.  It seems the harmonies meet and part as does the melodic lines - teasingly and with a beautiful gentleness.

Exquisite to say the least.

Mark

Michel.R.E

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2016, 05:09:36 PM »
"exquisite"... an excellent descriptor.

I notice that the melodic lines tend to rest for extended periods on non-chord tones.
in other words, part of what gives it that plaintive quality is that the harmony is - while "settled" in the accompaniment - unsettled in the melody.

notice that just in the very first few measures alone there are numerous non-chord tones in the string part.

then when the oboe comes in, it starts squarely "in the key" but then almost immediately starts emphasizing suspensions and appogiaturas.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

winknotes

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Re: January 2016 excerpt discussion
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2016, 06:33:47 PM »
Remember that the goal is NOT to guess the composer/excerpt correctly.

The goal is to examine a musical excerpt from all possible angles with as little external influence as possible.

Indeed.  And somewhat irrelevant to our purposes so forgive me. 

It's very imitative even if just little snippets of a motive. 

Michel your comment about emphasizing suspensions and apppogiaturas is what I was trying to say.  That seems to be how the composer slips in and out of tonality.  You hold a suspension a little longer and move everything else and suddenly you have a different chord or have the melody hit the non-chord tone in a an appoggiatura and hold it instead of quickly resolving and again you have a point to pivot to another key center. 

Even though it's just strings and oboes it's still very colorful.  I imagine there's crossing.  I think sometimes I hear cellos up high probably above the violas but I'm not sure. 
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